“the greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it” Robert Swan
We are still in lockdown here in Wales but starting to tentatively make draft plans for re-opening whilst watching/waiting for updated guidance and clarity from both Westminster but more importantly for us from Welsh Government. The past couple of months have been truly bonkers.
One positive to take from lockdown is the gift of a little more time than usual to spend on other aspects of what we do . . . with considerably less time than usual spent on canoeing related tasks in April and May I’ve spent the sunny days on practical refurbishment jobs at the yard alongside grey-days spent analysing, considering and documenting all the other stuff we get stuck into here. So where shall I start? … I guess the fact that our business is also our home, that’s a great starting point – it’s at the heart of everything we do…
want to canoe? is part of Racquety Farm so not only do we wish you a happy paddle we also warmly welcome you to our home. It’s a peaceful place where people can forget about their busy lives and really relax.
The farm is small but efficiently run on Organic Farming Principals and is inspected by the Soil Association. Therefore we encourage re-cycling, biodegradable products and packaging, composting toilets and so forth as well as an over-arching respect for the environment.
Yes there are ‘weeds’ and wildflowers, yes the facilities are simple but as a result we have an abundant wildlife and our visitors really feel they are amongst nature.
Get to know us lot a little better . . . ‘meet the fam’
Ros, Geoff and Katy live at the ‘top’ of the farm in the original house called Wyecliff, Aubrey and and I live at Larchwood which was completed in 2019. Most of the building work at Larchwood (other than the main big structure bits and the skilled electrics/plumbing) was completed by us the family with help from friends, family and our small staff team . . . and we are all really proud of what we’ve created in both a home for ourselves and facilities and spaces for you our guests and visitors. What we are equally proud of is the low impact of the buildings and facilities which we will continue to improve upon as we grow and develop into the new spaces alongside maintaining and caring for our older spaces.
Here’s a few ways in which Larchwood and the wider farm is an even more intelligent and eco-friendly place than you might at first think . . .
We use a green energy supplier. . . when we talk about green energy, we mean electricity and gas made from renewable sources. No fossil fuels, and no animal by-products. Just green electricity made from the wind, the sun and the sea, and green gas made from organic material and, soon, grass. And they don’t just supply green energy, they make it themselves – they’ve built windmills and sunmills across Britain, helping to supply their customers with 100% green electricity.
Low-level mains power supply and Solar
There isn’t all singing and dancing mains power here – we have a low level supply that comes off the mains and under the large lower field and PV Solar on Racquety Lodge – one day we would like solar panels on every building here and are slowly but surely saving the pennies for just that.
Wood Fired Under-Floor Heating and Hot Water
The hot water and underfloor heating at Larchwood is wood-powered and all the wood is harvested from the farm by us.
Sensitive to ecology/wildlife
We work to an ecological plan on the site to protect the abundance of wildlife, flora and fauna we are so lucky to live and work amongst. We have regular support and inspections from an independent ecologist.
A VORTEX® Eco Electric Sewage Treatment Plant
This sewage treatment plant is the only ADJUSTABLE sewage treatment system in the UK. Approved by the Environment Agency and on the British Water Certified List
We buy Ecofriendly cleaning products in bulk from top ethical brands like Ecover, Bio D, Ecoleaf, Clear Spring, Earth Friendly and more. Suma’s own Ecoleaf range which is always our first choice features top ethical credentials: it is produced in the UK, vegan & cruelty free plus all containers are recyclable and we opt for the 5 litre refills into bottles we already have . . . sending the containers straight back with the next delivery driver.
Wherever possible we get creative and use materials that are recycled rather than new . . . the biggest example of this is the Storm Board used to create the internal cubicles in the swanky toilet and shower block at Larchwood. Storm Board is a great example of Closed Loop Recycling that turns waste plastic into a weather proof alternative to plywood.
We shop local – simples.
Day to day consumables for us as a family and for the farm and canoe yard are easily sourced locally, there are weekly deliveries from the milk-lady, green-grocer and deli/butchers – plus our hardware store and builders merchants are the very best… we will always nip into Hay to grab bits before occasionally resorting to the world wide web.
It’s not just business . . . it’s personal
The business-systems and processes we have in place create a solid foundation from which to approach our family/personal impact on the environment in efficient and innovative ways. There’s a whole other blog-post on this coming soon…
Our ethos – reduce, reuse and recycle
We put this into practise ourselves in everyday home and work-life plus we provide our guests and visitors with the facilities and tools to embrace the ethos with us. Large 240 litre recycling bins, compost/food waste, last-resort landfill bins – you name it we will try to recycle or reuse it! Much of our campsite and canoe-yard construction makes use of recycled materials as well… for example our little gas powered shower-units and compost loos were constructed using bits and bobs from around the farm and the campfire braziers are re-purposed alloy wheels . . . look around and see what else you can spot!
We’ve covered the main points but it’s also important to stress that this list isn’t exhaustive and the eco-journey is a never-ending one – sustainability runs through the core of everything we do here and we are continuously looking for ways to improve and reduce our impact both now in the present day and for our future generations. We also aim to provoke thought and action in others through their experiences as a guest at Racquety Farm.
Hopefully we will see you all again soon – stay safe x